Nursing Care Plan: What You Need to Know

Nursing Care Plan: What You Need to Know

Nursing Care Plan: What You Need to Know

A nursing care plan is essential to student nurses and nurses alike. It is the basis of patient care and helps understand the patient’s condition. How can you write an effective nursing care plan? 


What is a Nursing Care Plan?

A nursing care plan is a plan that contains relevant information about the patient’s diagnosis, goals of the treatment, and specific nursing orders. It also contains the evaluation plan and actions that must be performed on the patient. 

The nursing care plan is also updated throughout the patient’s stay—any changes in the patient or if there’s new information added to the plan. In some hospitals, nurses must update their care plan during and after the shift to see improvements. 


The Purpose

The nursing care plan aims to help define a specific patient’s nursing guidelines and treatment. It is a plan that helps guide nurses throughout their shift in caring for their patients. It also allows nurses to give their patients focused and attentive care. 


What Makes up a Nursing Care Plan?

There are several components used in a care plan. These include the following:

  • Nursing Diagnosis – this is a clinical judgment that helps nurses develop a care plan for their patients.
  • Expected outcome – is a measurable action plan for a patient to achieve within a specific time frame. 
  • Nursing interventions and rationales – are actions to be taken to achieve the expected outcomes and reasons behind them. 
  • Evaluation – is how you determine the effectiveness of the care plan and see if the expected outcomes are met within the said time frame. 

These components are essential to the overall nursing care plan and process. A good nursing care plan must have these sections, or it will not make sense:


4 Types of Nursing Care Plans

There are many ways to write a care plan. Memorizing how they help you is essential. Here are the four types:

  • Informal – is a care plan that exists in the nurse’s mind. The action plan for this care plan is what the nurse wishes to accomplish during their shift. 
  • Formal – a type of care plan that is written or computerized. It is organized and coordinates with the patient’s care information and plan.
  • Standardized – is nursing care for a group of patients with the same everyday needs. 
  • Individualized – is a care plan tailored to a specific patient’s needs. 


How to Write a Nursing Care Plan

One of the first things you need to determine before writing a nursing care plan is to see the problems affecting the patient. What are the medical problems that affect them? Not just the medical problems but the psychosocial problems as well. 

Once you have listed the problems affecting the patient and the corresponding nursing diagnosis, you can determine the essential ones. Consider the ABCs or the Airway, Breathing, and Circulation to determine this. However, these will not always be the basis or be relevant to your patients. 


Step 1 – Assessment

To determine your care plan, always assess your patients first. It means you must gather subjective and objective data from your patients. 

Subjective data is what the patient has verbalized. It could be symptoms, feelings, perceptions, and even their concerns. 

Objective data is the information you’ve gathered based on observation. These are often measurable and can come from:

  • Vital signs – blood pressure, respiratory rate, heart rate
  • Verbal statements of the patients and their family
  • Physical complaints – for example, headache, pain, nausea, vomiting
  • Body conditions – assessing the patient from head to toe
  • Medical history
  • Height and weight
  • Intake and output
  • Patient feelings, concerns, perceptions
  • Laboratory data
  • Diagnostic testing – like X-ray, EKG, echocardiogram etc.


Step 2 – Diagnosis

A nursing diagnosis best fits the patient’s condition, objectives, and goals for the individual’s hospitalization.

The North American Nursing Diagnosis Association or NANDA, “a nursing diagnosis is a clinical judgment about the human response to health conditions, life processes, or a vulnerability for that response by an individual, family, group, or community.” 

Nurses can also formulate a diagnosis based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. With this, nurses can formulate a treatment plan and prioritize them. It also helps determine their next step. 


Types of Nursing Diagnosis

There are four types of nursing diagnoses that you can do. These are:

  • Problem-focused – the diagnosis is based on the problem present in the patient. 
  • Risk – includes the risk factors nurses see that require intervention from them and the healthcare team before a real problem develops.
  • Health promotion – aims to improve the general well-being of the patient, their families, and/or community. 
  • Syndrome – occurs in a pattern or can be addressed through the same nursing interventions. 

Once the nurses determine the diagnoses, they can begin their nursing diagnosis statement. There are three main components of a nursing diagnosis. These are:

  • Problem and its definition – refers to the patient’s current health problem and the nursing interventions needed.
  • Risk Factors or etiology – are the possible reasons behind the problem or the contributing factors that led to the patient’s condition. 
  • Defining characteristics – are the signs and symptoms that allow the specific diagnostic label in the place of defining characteristics for risk nursing diagnosis. 


Step 3 – Outcomes and Planning

Once you have your nursing diagnosis, create a SMART goal based on evidence-based practices. SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

It is also best to consider the medical diagnosis of the patient and overall condition for your data collection. Consider the goals you want to achieve for this patient and the short- or long-term outcome. It should be realistic and something the patient wants to do. 


Step 4 – Implementation

After setting all the goals, implement them to help your patient achieve them. Some actions will have immediate results; others may be seen later during hospitalization. During the implementation phase, you will be performing your nursing care plan. 

Your care plan must include the patient’s family, behavioral and physiological aspects, community, safety, health system interventions, and complex physiology. 

Some interventions implemented are diagnosis or patient-specific, but several can be completed within a shift. These are:

  • Pain assessment
  • Position changes
  • Fall prevention
  • Providing cluster care
  • Infection control


Step 5 – Evaluation 

The last part of your nursing care plan is the evaluation phase. It is where you evaluate the outcome of your care plan and see if the goals are met during the shift. The possible outcomes are met, ongoing, or not met. 

The evaluation can determine if the goals and interventions need improvement. Ideally, these goals must be met by the time of discharge.

However, it is not always the case, especially if the patient is discharged to home care, hospice, or long-term care facility. The outcome of your goals always depends on the patient’s condition. 

It would be best to choose achievable nursing goals that the patient can do. It will also help the patient feel that they have accomplished something and are progressing toward recovery. 



Nursing care plans are essential in patient care. They are your guidelines for your patient’s progress. You must learn to write one and implement your care plan each shift. It will help you polish your nursing skills as you learn how to care for your patient.

Hopefully, this post helped you; good luck!


Looking for more student resources? Check out these helpful links!

6 Key Points in Nailing Your Travel Nurse Interview 

6 Key Points in Nailing Your Travel Nurse Interview 

6 Key Points in Nailing Your Travel Nurse Interview

Are you interested in working as a travel nurse? Nailing your travel nurse interview is the key to your success! But how can you do that? What are the critical points in answering an interview for this position? 

How to Prepare for your Travel Nurse Interview

Your travel nurse journey begins when you pass your travel nurse interview. Here are helpful ways to do that:

1. Conduct your research about the healthcare facility.

The first thing you must do is research the company, health care facility, or clinic interested in working as a travel nurse. For a potential employer to be interested in you, you must also show them that you share the same sentiment. 

Reading about the facility before the interview helps you know the kind of nursing services they offer. It will also give you an idea of what they are known for (ex., if they specialize in treating cancer patients, care for the elderly, etc.) and if your skills match what they are looking for. It is also essential for nailing your travel nurse interview on your first try. 

2. Get a grip on what travel nursing is.

As a nurse, your primary concern is to take care of patients. However, as a travel nurse, your contract is a bit different. Your first travel nurse job may vary from the usual staff nurse duties. Having a broad understanding of what this job is about can help you nail that interview. 

For your first interview, you must show your ability to organize and prioritize tasks even with few instructions. Your ability to adjust to different settings and willingness to float is essential to let your future company know. 

3. Ask your travel nursing agency for help.

Use your travel nurse agency if you want to pass the interview on your first try. A good travel nursing agency will help you go through the process of your initial onboarding [1]. They can walk you through what you need to know and how you can answer the health care company or facility correctly. 

Your recruiter is familiar with the clients, personalities, and even the staff. They can fill you in with that, so it is easier for you to answer questions.  It is also your recruiter’s job to act as your career coach. They can help you create a better resume and even schedule mock interviews. This way, you are fully prepared for the travel nursing interview. 

4. Create an ideal interview setup.

Understand that there will be times when the interview for your travel nursing job will not be face-to-face. Of course, there will be instances when you will be asked to come for an interview. But most of the time, it could be via video chat, phone, or video apps like Skype, Zoom, and Google Meet. 

Whether you are asked to come for a face-to-face interview or video call, you must wear clothes suitable for the interview. Wearing appropriate attire for this interview is a must. The right clothes help, of course. Keep in mind that you are a professional, so you also have to dress to impress. It will also show how confident you are. 

If, by chance, you are asked to do a video call for an interview, make sure to check your setup. Ensuring that your mic is working correctly and the audio is good. The lighting must also be enough to light up your face, the internet connection must be uninterrupted, and your camera is working correctly are essential in helping you land that job. 

5. Be ready to answer their questions.

During the interview, make sure to take the time before answering the question. Ask your travel nursing agency if they can give you an idea of the questions that companies usually ask potential nurses. Since they know the clients better, agencies can provide you with some tips on what is expected during the interview. Here are some common yet essential questions that potential clients will ask you:

Why do you want to be a travel nurse? – this is the part where you can “sell” yourself about your interest in becoming a travel nurse. Show your excitement and eagerness in this field and why you chose this path, and they might consider you for the job. 

What are your strengths and weaknesses as a travel nurse or a nurse in general? – if you decide to answer this question with a weakness, make sure to follow it with your strengths. Be sure to emphasize this strength and tell them how this has helped you in your career as a nurse. 

How are you in your current nursing position? – reflect on your current work status, your education, and your credentials. Tell them if you have any plans for additional education or certifications in the future. 

Can you share or describe an experience where you have handled a difficult patient? – in this question, share any experience that you may have when it comes to handling unruly patients. Did you have a good experience? If yes, explain how it went and what you learned from that experience.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask your questions as well.

An interview is not a one-way street between you and your potential employers [2]. It would be best if you also asked questions to show them that you are genuine in your interest in working as a travel nurse. 

It is always good to be ready with your questions once you set foot in the interview room. Your questions will help you determine if this is indeed a suitable travel nursing contract to pursue or not. 

What are the most common questions you can ask your potential employer? Here’s what we have gathered:

  • What is your policy or policies regarding floating?
  • Do you use any type(s) of charting? 
  • What kind of onboarding or orientation would be available to me?
  • How long does onboard briefing take?
  • Can you describe the culture of the unit/management?
  • What shifts are available, and what are your scheduling methods?
  • Is a call available? If yes, is it required?
  • What are your overtime policies?
  • Do you frequently offer extensions for contract assignments?
  • Why are you bringing in travel nurses? 
  • Why do you continue to bring in travel nurses?
  • What are the nurse-to-patient ratios?
  • Do you require a patient ratio?

You can also add your questions to our list. If you don’t have any in mind yet, this would be a great way to engage with the potential employer. 

Your Takeaway

Being a travel nurse is ideal for nurses who want to avoid hospital politics and enjoy working and exploring in different locations. If this sounds like you, it would be best to contact a travel nurse agency for an assignment. 

Before you sign a contract, an interview is conducted to see if you fit the position. Coming in ready and confident for the job is a must. Hopefully, our post gave you an idea of what to expect during the interview. So, break a leg and nail that job interview! Good luck!

Looking for more nursing and travel nursing information? Check out these helpful links!

4 Tips to Do the Night Before Your NCLEX Exams

4 Tips to Do the Night Before Your NCLEX Exams

4 Tips for the Night Before Your NCLEX Exam

Your NCLEX exam is scheduled for tomorrow; what should you do? Here are four tips to do the night before your NCLEX exam. 


Helpful Tips to Remember the Night Before Your NCLEX Exam

Congratulations! You are 1 test away from becoming a registered nurse. Before you take the examination tomorrow, remember these tips and apply them where you see fit.

What should you do on the night before your NCLEX exams? Here are helpful reminders:


Be as ready as you can

Cramming at the last minute is not the way to go. At this point you know everything you can. . You can skim over your notes but trying to learn any new concepts won’t help. 

Remember, you already studied for the exam, so be confident that you can answer the exam questions to the best of your abilities. 

Instead of cramming, get enough sleep. You can also review your test instructions, ensure that you have all the documents you need for the examination, and make sure you know how to get to the testing center. You are ready for tomorrow. 

Be sure to set the alarm clock a few hours before the exam. Check your car’s gas and if you have enough to drive yourself to the testing center. 

Remember that cramming the night before will only make you anxious. Instead, try to relax and go to sleep early.


Remind yourself that it is normal to be tense

If you are overthinking, STOP. You will only get yourself worked up, which will trigger your anxiety. 

What you can do is practice breathing. If you feel anxious about tomorrow’s exam, pause, take a deep breath in, and exhale. 

Remind yourself that it is common to feel the jitters the night before the NCLEX exam. After all, this is an important test to take. The tension you feel right now is normal. 

Try to relax; take a nice hot bath, and light up some scented candles or diffuse oils. Stressing about the exam tomorrow will not help. You might as well enjoy this time. 


Treat yourself; you deserve it!

The night before you take the exam, eat a good meal. Consider it as your reward. You have been preparing for this moment for many months. Treating yourself to a night dinner is the reward you deserve for all your hard work. 

If you don’t want to eat dinner, get something you have been depriving yourself of for months. Whatever treat you give yourself, reflect on your efforts to get this far. 

NCLEX is not an easy exam; treating yourself is one way to boost your self-confidence and encourage you to do well on your exam tomorrow!


Get plenty of sleep

Once you have eaten, prepared your documents, taken a nice shower, and prepared your clothes for tomorrow, you can go to bed. Say your prayers (if you’re religious of course) and go to sleep early.

Don’t stay up late. It will mess with your body’s clock. You might also wake up late tomorrow, so avoid this. If sleeping early means you must miss your favorite show or not reply to messages for a while, so be it! 


In Closing

Preparing the night before your NCLEX exam is essential. You must not overlook it and be complacent. If you are ready to answer the questions, be prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

The opportunity to pass NCLEX on your first try is a blessing. You should also be ready for it as much as possible. I hope these tips helped you prepare for the exam, good luck!


Looking for more student resources? Check out these helpful links!

6 Travel Nursing Specialties That Are in Demand

6 Travel Nursing Specialties That Are in Demand

6 Travel Nursing Specialties That Are in Demand

Do you know what travel nursing specialties you want to work in? Travel nursing is a nurse who travels for work, but did you know that there are many areas of nursing where travel nurses can thrive? If you have been considering working as a travel nurse, this is a sign to find a travel nurse recruiter and begin your journey to be one. 

Travel Nursing Specialties 

Working as a travel nurse is one of the best areas of nursing. You can work in different places where you can mix work and recreation. If this sounds like the kind of work you’d enjoy, here are six areas of travel nursing you will enjoy working in. 

1. ICU or Intensive Care Unit Travel Nurse

One of the best unit travel nurses can work in is the ICU. It is one of the most requested assignments for travel nurses. ICU nurses care for high-acuity, high-risk patients with the skills to monitor them closely.

As an ICU nurse, you are responsible for patients with life-threatening diseases or injuries. You must be able to communicate with your patients, their families, and physicians. 

If you like challenges, then this particular area is for you. Here you will handle frequent changes and must be able to manage stress and use your critical thinking skills to resolve issues within the ICU.

Travel nurses specializing in ICU must know how to adapt quickly to a new environment and be familiar with the hospital’s electronic medical record system. 

2. ER or Emergency Room Travel Nurse 

Another travel nurse specialty that is in high demand is ER nursing. These nurses work in a fast-paced environment where they care for critically ill patients and patients who have experienced trauma.

An emergency nurse must provide emergency care to various patients with different injuries, illnesses, and mental health issues. 

Travel nurses working in this unit must have good communication skills, diffuse tensions, and quickly assess any volatile situations.

It is also crucial that travel nurses who want to work in this position can start working with minimal orientation. 

3. Telemetry Travel Nurses

A telemetry nurse’s job is to monitor their patient’s vital signs, and heart rhythms, closely in an intermediate care unit. One of the best examples is when a patient is placed on an electrocardiogram.

Telemetry nurses monitor patients with cardiovascular abnormalities or complications and those recovering from cardiac surgery. They also help and assist doctors in administering medications and procedures as needed. 

One of the specialties of telemetry nurses is they are trained to use and interpret technological devices.

They also monitor a patient’s internal functions and vital signs. You can quickly secure this position if you already have certifications in telemetry. 

4. PCU or Progressive Care Unit Travel Nurse

PCU is another nurse specialty unit that is often in demand for travel nurses. Among their responsibilities include monitoring patients who don’t need intensive-level care but are not ready to move into a regular bed or be discharged from the hospital. 

A PCU is a unit that is sometimes called intermediate care unit or step-down unit. The patients who come to PCU often have chronic health conditions or are recovering from surgeries.

In many cases, these patients are on multiple medications and are at high risk for complications. Progressive care unit nurses monitor and assess these patients and communicate with members of the care team and patients to provide them with care toward recovery. 

5. L&D or Labor and Delivery Travel Nurses

Working in a Labor and Delivery unit will be a fun experience as a travel nurse if you’re a nurse with a specialty in the maternity unit. Nurses in this area help women through the birthing process and assist during Cesarean sections.

They also provide patients with antepartum care, especially women with high-risk pregnancies. Nurses also provide postpartum care, instructions, and how to care for their newborns. 

As a travel nurse in the L&D unit, your responsibilities include monitoring maternal and fetal health. They also provide encouragement and support to patients.

Travel nurses interested in this position must have basic or advanced life support and neonatal resuscitation program credentials to qualify for this area. 

6. Pediatric Travel Nurses

Pediatrics is one of the best travel nursing specialties you should also consider. Travel nurses working in pediatrics attend to patients from birth to 18 years of age. Working in pediatrics requires impeccable clinical skills paired with infinite amounts of compassion, patience, and the ability to have fun.

Remember that your patients are children, so having a playful quality is ideal. 

Pediatric travel nurses must also know how to communicate effectively with children, teens, and adults. One of your qualities is dispelling your patient’s fears, especially when dealing with different procedures.

You are also responsible for educating the patient’s families on managing their child’s special needs or chronic conditions. 

In addition, you may also be assigned to work in subspecialties like pediatric oncology nursing, pediatric ER, PICU, and many others. 

In Closing

Working as a travel nurse is a lifetime experience; honestly, we enjoy our time as travel nurses. If you love the idea of working as a nurse and traveling, then this is an opportunity you shouldn’t miss. Talk to a travel nurse recruiter today and find out where your assignment will be. 


Looking for more nursing and travel nursing information? Check out these helpful links!

3 Tips to Make Your Nursing School Clinicals Enjoyable

3 Tips to Make Your Nursing School Clinicals Enjoyable

3 Tips to Make Your Nursing School Clinicals Enjoyable

Your nursing school clinicals are one of the most important parts of nursing school. It is a time to learn about patient care, know what nursing style you like, and find the right nursing path you would like to pursue.

It is also the best time to hone your nursing skills and develop self-confidence as a future nurse. While this is an exciting time, it can also be nerve-racking. But before you get all nervous, here are helpful tips you can follow.


Enjoy your nursing school clinicals with these tips

A clinical rotation can last about a week. It’s relatively short, so you must make the most of your time. To experience the best clinical, you must be prepared, energized, and curious. 


1. Get ready and prepare yourself

Going into your nursing clinical means, you’ll be in shifts. For the clinical round, make sure to come on time. Go to bed early the night before your clinical and set your alarm for the next day.

Come on time and have your questions ready based on your lectures or readings. Bring your questions to the pre or post-conference. Asking questions will help you prepare for your NCLEX exams or nursing board exams. 


2. Stay energized at all times

Nursing school is stressful as it is, and it may be challenging to feel energized all the time. But understand this; your clinical may also add more to the pressure of studying and meeting class deadlines.

On the bright side, however, nursing school clinical will teach you much about what it takes to be a real nurse. It will also enhance your skills and build your confidence as a future member of the healthcare team. 

Always have a heart breakfast to keep your energy up for your shifts. Have a diet rich in carbs and protein; you’ll need it throughout the day. Of course, you will be given breaks by your clinical instructors too.

Bring healthy and energizing snacks that will help boost your energy. Avoid drinking stimulants like coffee or energy drinks. It will wear you out once caffeine crashes. Bring your water bottle and keep yourself hydrated at all times too.

It’s the best way to combat sleepiness and that tired feeling. 


3. Stay curious 

During your nursing school clinicals, you will be working with patients for the first time and will learn what it’s like to do patient care. It’s also an excellent opportunity to see how seasoned nurses care for their patients and observe what they do in the unit. And once you have an assigned patient, research all about the medications given to them and their diagnosis. 

Understand that your clinical experience is more than just reading your patient’s chart and taking vital signs. It’s all about understanding how the nursing team works and knowing that you will be a part of that culture in the future. 

Clinicals are fun, but you must also be serious about it. It’s a learning opportunity too. Take it as your “warm-up” to your real nursing career in the future, so enjoy it! Being nervous about your clinical is expected, so be prepared for it. Hopefully, these tips help!

Looking for more student resources? Check out these helpful links!